Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton (and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted) have placed the state within the top 10 in the nation in terms of quickest government reaction times to the coronavirus crisis, according to the financial site Finder.
Finder's report ranks how all 50 state governments responded using metrics including the date of their first confirmed COVID-19 case, when they declared a state of emergency and when they issued stay-at-home orders. Top-ranked West Virginia, for example, shuttered schools four days before the state confirmed its first case, while Nebraska, which came in 50th, has yet to close non-essential businesses.
Ohio ranked No. 8 (Kentucky came in at lucky No. 13). We had our first confirmed case on March 9, declared a state of emergency the same day, closed restaurants and bars on March 15, closed schools March 16, closed non-essential businesses March 23 and issued a stay-at-home order March 23.
That's not to say this response has been applauded by everyone.
There has been obvious financial fallout in Ohio and across the country from business closures as a result of COVID-19, with record numbers seeking unemployment benefits. And protestors have taken to the statehouse demanding DeWine, a Republican, reopen the economy.
The state's plan is to gradually start reopening Ohio on May 1, the day the stay-at-home order expires.
During a press conference announcing the process, DeWine said, "We must get this right because the stakes are very high. If we don't do it right, the consequences are horrendous."
He said that while COVID-19 is out there, there is no plan that will prevent people from getting it until there is a vaccine. And until there is a vaccine, both he and Dr. Acton said people need to be wearing masks in public, washing their hands, social distancing, sanitizing and practicing other recommended means for avoiding infection.
As of today, Ohio is reporting 13,609 confirmed cases, 2,882 hospitalizations, 880 ICU admissions and 610 deaths.